Hi! My name is Melanie. If you know me, you probably know me as somebody who has dedicated her life to helping to better the transgender community, especially in and around music education. I've given countless clinics, sessions, and guest lectures talking about my experiences as a trans woman, music educator, and singer. There are multiple publications out there, some authored by me, about my experiences with discrimination and marginalization, and just trying to find a place in the world of choir and music education.
I've been robbed and kidnapped. I've been sexually assaulted. I've been called "disgusting" and "it" and so many other hurtful things, simply while trying to live my life authentically. I share my story so that others don't have to--even on the days when it's hard. I also like to try and use as many jokes and puns as possible while doing so, because if there isn't at least one laugh or awkward silence, I feel like I'm not doing my job. So far, I'm doing great in the awkward silence category! I also don't really like doing or asking for things (or help) for myself, mostly because that's just not who I am. And yet here we are.
I've been a middle and high school choir teacher for 6 years in Houston, TX, as well as an elementary music teacher for 1 year. I loved all of my students and at least one of them thought I was okay too, which is high praise from a middle schooler. I'm now working on my Ph.D. in Music Studies (Music Education) with an interdiscplinary certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, with the goal of being a college professor in the near future. While my tuition is covered, I barely have enough funds to cover living expenses and medical expenses, as well as the occasional expenses of my cute Golden Retriever, Queso. Besides my work as a full-time doctoral student, I also work at Starbucks on the weekends, offer private voice/music lessons, work as a guest speaker/lecturer, and am a freelance writer.
With so many jobs alongside my doctoral work/studies, I haven't been able to make much, if any, financial progress towards saving for Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS), the final step in my transition. After over a decade of living and being the woman I am, I've finally made the decision to ask for help. It's going to take a lot of hard work by me to get ready for the surgery, but it's my goal to be able to do it before I graduate.
I haven't selected a surgeon yet, though there are some really great options here in the Chicagoland area, so I plan on setting up a consultation sometime to see what the next steps are. Any funds raised for this will go towards finishing my transition/medical costs.
Even if it's only a dollar or a sharing of the link to this fundraiser, any little bit helps, and I would really appreciate yours.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I'm sending you nothing but love, peace, and happiness.
To all my fellow LGBTQ+ friends and family out there. I see you. You inspire me. And I love you. You are enough.